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The naming issue: Metro Style-Apps, Windows 8 Style-Apps, Modern UI-Style Apps or Windows Store-Apps?

This post is part of a series about creating Windows Store-apps with XAML and C#. Find the Content of the series here:
Windows Store-apps with XAML and C# blog-series

Through the past weeks there’ve been many names around for the apps running in the new tile-based User Interface of Windows 8. This blog-post tries to clarify about the different names and what the apps are called now.

In the beginning of the Windows 8 Preview era those apps running in the new tile-bases UI have been called Metro Style-Apps, and the whole new tile-based UI was called the Metro UI. Some days before Windows 8 went RTM, there was an issue with that name, because a German company reselling technical stuff like computers etc. already got the name Metro AG. Metro AG owns “Saturn” and “Media Markt”, two of the biggest hardware-resellers in Germany. And the management of the Metro AG was not happy with the usage of their name for Microsoft new tile-based UI. But the Metro AG never gave an official statement on that topic. Microsoft knows that the Metro AG is important for them, and they just said: “Metro was just a Codename”. Dot. If you’ve started with Windows Phone 7, you probably know that the tile-based UI was introduced there and was called Metro. So this “Metro was just a Codename” statement is not the whole truth, but that’s all Microsoft said. Seems like no-one want’s to produce big waves. In fact, shortly before the RTM Version of Windows 8 Microsoft had to avoid any long-running legal fights, so I think that’s one of the biggest reasons for the simple silent “Metro was just a Codename”-statement.

After the name Metro was dropped, Microsoft said, that developers shouldn’t use the name Metro anymore. Even Apps for the Windows Store will fail certification if they contain the name Metro. I’m not sure what will happen when Metro AG places an App in the Windows Store. :-)

OK, so the name Metro was dropped. The problem for developers, writers and all people talking about the new apps was that Microsoft didn’t provide a new name. Temporarily they called the apps Windows 8 Style-Apps or just Windows 8-apps. That was a bad idea, because when there’ll be a Windows 9 the apps for the tile-based UI will be called Windows 8-apps?! Not so good. This was recognized soon and there has been another name around for the tile-based UI: Modern UI. The new tile-based UI was just called the Modern UI, and the apps that run in that UI were called Modern UI-Style apps. But Microsoft also never officially confirmed that. Due to this naming-issue some developers called their apps just WinRT-apps, because the apps make use of the new object-oriented Windwos API called WinRT (Windows Runtime).

When the RTM version of Visual Studio 2012 came out in the mid of august 2012, the first thing I did was to look how Microsoft has named the apps for the Modern UI in the “New Project”-Dialog of Visual Studio 2012. I was really curious about that. And what a suprise, there was another name: Windows Store-apps. And that’s the name how we developers should call the apps today.

On the developer-portal (http://dev.windows.com) microsoft had still the name Metro. Since last week there’s also the new name Windows Store-apps. Even in the forums they are now talking no more about Metro Style-apps, but about Windows Store-apps (http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/category/windowsapps). That’s a statement from Microsoft that they will keep this name for the future. Yes.

So, let’s wrap it up:

  • Modern UI
    the tile-based surface in Windows 8 and in Windows Phone 7/8.
  • Windows Store-apps
    apps that run in the Modern UI on a Windows 8 PC/Tablet are sold over the Windows Store and so they are called Windows Store-apps.

It’s just as easy. :)


Windows 8: The (not) missing startmenu

Before we start with a series of blogposts about developing Windows 8 Metro-Apps with XAML and C#, we  take a look at Windows 8 and its missing startmenu Bin gleich zurück. Windows 8 which will be in RTM-state in the first week of august. I’ve read many articles about the missing Startmenu in Windows 8. I’ve heard many people saying “Microsoft tried for years to bring a desktop-os to mobile devices, now they go the other way around trying to bring a mobile-os to the desktop”. Most of them have never tried Windows 8. Maybe none of them. And all of them said that the missing startmenu is a big loss.

I’ve used the Release Preview version of Windows 8 since it came out, so for far more than 1 month. And I don’t miss the startmenu. I really don’t miss it. Let’s figure out why.

In Windows 7, I used the startmenu like this:

I’ve pinned my favourite applications to the taskbar and the most favourite ones also to the startmenu. But I found out, that I was always using the link on the taskbar, never the one over the startmenu. For non-favourite applications, like e.g. mspaint, I used the search-box in the startmenu. The searchbox is the most used feature of the startmenu from my point of view. I think 70% of my personal startmenu-usage. Additional 10% for manually browsing programs and the rest of 10% to open the control panel and 10% to shutdown. With that in mind I switch to Windows 8, and now I don’t have the startmenu anymore. Instead of I have the Metro-Screen.

The Metro-Surface in Windows 8

The Metro-Surface is not only a startmenu-replacement, it’s much more. In fact its a dashboard with your favourite applications, showing up current information via live tiles. And in fact I can use it the same way as my Windows 7 startmenu by just start typing:


When opening the mspaint-Application my computer jumps to the desktop. I can fastly switch between my “dashboard” and the classic Windows-Desktop. In Metro, I can order my applications in groups, e.g. social networking for facebook, twitter & Co., developer tools for Visual Studio, Expression Blend (I don’t have a “Designer”-group Zwinkerndes Smiley), Reflector etc., and so on.

So I’m really fine with the Metro-Surface instead of the startmenu. Ok, I have to say, I really love the Metro-Surface, it looks so fresh and excited and gives me all the information I need in a single place. And for that it uses not only a part of the screen, but the whole screen.

If you search the web, there are already many tools around that allow you to create the registry-setting so that the classical startmenu appears again. You can even boot windows 8 directly to the classical desktop instead of booting to the metro-startscreen.

What about you. How do/did you use the Windows 7 startmenu and do you think you’ll miss it?